All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for Star Wars fans, the groundbreaking animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be coming to a close very rapidly. From the sounds of today's announcement they will find a new delivery medium, perhaps direct to video, paid download, or on-line to burn off some remaining story arcs that are already in advanced production. The Clone Wars will not have a televised Season Six, but just how the series will ultimately be wrapped up remains to be seen.
The Lucasfilm Announcement on Starwars.com:
A NEW DIRECTION FOR LUCASFILM ANIMATIONMarch 11, 2013
As we enter into an exciting new era focused on the next Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming. We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.
As part of this shift, we have also made some key decisions affecting Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Detours.
After five highly successful and critically acclaimed seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we feel the time has come to wind down the series. While the studio is no longer producing new episodes for Cartoon Network, we're continuing production on new Clone Wars story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen. Stay tuned for more information on where fans can soon find this bonus content. In the video below, Supervising Director Dave Filoni offers a peek of what is to come in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
At Star Wars Celebration VI last year, George Lucas gave fans a glimpse at the animated comedy series Star Wars Detours from Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Todd Grimes. Detours was conceived and produced before we decided to move forward with the new Star Wars trilogy, and in the wake of that decision, Lucasfilm has reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense. As a result, we've decided to postpone the release of Detours until a later date.
We are incredibly proud of the teams at Lucasfilm Animation for creating some of the most amazing animation ever produced for TV. Keep checking StarWars.com for new developments on these and future projects.
In terms of Detours, as entertaining as this comedy show would have been it doesn't carry the canonical and story telling impact of The Clone Wars. I am first and foremost a fan of stories, and as such my interest in Detours is at a lower level than The Clone Wars, the Live-Action series or this new animated series.
Regarding The Clone Wars, it is good to know that they simply aren't going to lock up the unaired but in production episodes. There are two very curious phrases in the announcement. Instead of calling future Clone Wars stories "episodes" they are referred to as "story arcs." The reference to arcs makes me thing that they are going to be shown in an unconventional way. Either these story arcs are going to be edited together to make feature length specials or they could be broken down into micro-episodes and perhaps aired on-line on Starwars.com in a simlar fashion to Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome.
The other phrase that is curious is referring to these story arcs as "bonus content" that makes it sound like it comes in addition to another purchase. Could they be launching a new Hyperspace like on-line membership soon? Could the episodes come as digital copies attached to the Season 5 blu-ray? Much remains to be seen.
The new series that is being "explored" can go in a number of directions based on the line that it will take place in "a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming." The two most likely settings are the era between Episode III and Episode IV or the era between Episode VI and Episode VII. If the series was set during the rise of the Empire between Episode III and Episode IV you would likely get a Jedi purge story focused on Vader and the hunt for Jedi and Rebels. This would very cool but probably a little too mature in terms of content for Disney animated standards.
The more likely scenario is that we will be getting a new series set after Episode VI that will preform a Jedi mind trick and erase the events of the Expanded Universe from the minds of fans before Episode VII. Of course if the new series was set between Episode VI and Episode VII, one wonders how long it would run given Episode VII's tentative release year of 2015.
Either way I am very curious in look forward to more Star Wars stories. I would lie if I didn't say I am sad to know that The Clone Wars is wrapping up soon, but I think we all knew that there was only a couple seasons left ultimately. The main thing for me at this point is to try to resolve some of the fates of characters created for the series, but that is the subject for another post.
I'll leave you with Dave Filoni's comments and an awesome video clip with the return of a very cool villain who is now more machine than...spider?
Dave's The Clone Wars Eulogy: